Friday, January 21, 2011

WTF are CogAT and NNAT2 tests?

Back in October or perhaps November, a note came home in Rosie's school folder among many other papers, homework, books, etc. I recall scanning it and without paying any attention to the context, read this statement, "WEDNESDAY: Be sure your child gets a full night's sleep and a good breakfast Thursday morning!!" Thinking it was good advice in any situation, I made arrangements for thorough sleeping and eating to happen. Later on, I learned that her second-grade class was being tested for academic abilities, with results to be compiled and distributed in months to come.

Months later, Rosie's results are in. And they are just that, numbers, percentages, bar charts, with no context. The way they are completely devoid of context appears most carefully contrived, in fact. Even the online information about CogAT and NNAT2 is vague, from Wikipedia:

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT, CAT) is a K–12 assessment designed to measure students’ learned reasoning abilities in the three areas most linked to academic success in school: Verbal, Quantitative and Nonverbal. Although its primary goal is to assess students’ reasoning abilities, CogAT can also provide predicted achievement scores when administered with the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills.

CogAT is also often used to help educators make student placement decisions, especially when selecting students for Gifted and Talented programs. [<--- my italics—aha, a clue!]

Soooo, as a parent, do I need to do anything? While I'm not going to report Rosie's numbers on this post, I will say that she was rated "high-average." Is this just a test for educators to discuss with other educators? There's a note in 6-point type (read: fine print) at the bottom that states, "If you need assistance with score interpretation, please contact your child's teacher." Given a recent communication from the school's vice principal, the school is being contacted by many confused parents! From Mr. F:

Due to an overwhelming number of emails and phone calls regarding the screening process for the Full-Time Level IV Advanced Academics Program, Ms. S and I will be hosting two information sessions next Tuesday afternoon, 1/25/11 from 4:15–4:45 & 5:00–5:30.  

Another clue: "Level IV AAP" is the new, more-PC term for "gifted & talented" program. I may find my answer at this meeting, I guess. I'm going and will find out WTF they're talking about.

6 comments:

  1. It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional...

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  2. All you need is a PhD in Education which is gotten by learning the lingo. You don't need to be a mathematical genius or any kind of genuis...

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  3. LOL, re: "I made arrangement for thorough sleeping and eating." We we got a similar suggestion in preparation for the "Naglieri" (sp?) test for our first grader. What does it mean that I can't spell it?! ;)

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  4. just wait til you get the letter that tells you that your child scored highly enough to take a test through johns hopkins u. you'll get roped into paying $ for the test, only to find that it's just a gateway for their $$$ enrichment program. not that i know this from experience, of course :/

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  5. Love your post. I'm waiting for the letter that says: "Be sure to keep your child up past his bedtime tonight, and feed them lots of sugar before sending them to school."

    Anyway - I just got my son's NNAT2 scores, and like you - I was looking it up. I have a question - my son did a LOT better than i was expecting - so um, I wonder how accurate this thing is?

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